I’m often asked how I conceived the idea of The Legend and my answer is that it is an unplanned book. Bachchan had imposed a ban on the media for more than fifteen years and in the year 1990 one day in a surprise move he began talking to journalists.
Sometime in 1997 when I was doing a cover story on him, my secretary commented that I must not do any more stories on the actor because she had exhausted all permutation-combinations to name these files. This was an indicator for me to revisit the files and I discovered that I indeed had a lot of material on the actor.
Like any disciplined writer, I began to find a structure to save these stories and saw it taking the shape of an engaging chronicle. When I was ready with the final copy, I shared it with my magazine publisher and it was Maulik Kotak’s suggestion that I combine the text with pictures from our archives and create a dummy.
Art director P G Ghawali of g magazine designed the manuscript as a book and the production department bound it all together. The entire exercise occurred so naturally and so harmoniously along with our regular work that none of us questioned the motive behind the creative pursuit.
The next step was to share the idea with Amitabh Bachchan and to tell him how it originated and when he gave the nod everything fell into place. Amitabh: The Legend is among the early books on the actor, the first biography structured in question answer format to retain the superstar’s voice.
To make the book comprehensive I met up with all his filmmakers and heroines and all of them from Hrishikesh Mukherjee and S Ramanathan to Rekha and Raakhee, recounted unusual memories of the actor, I guess when something wonderful has to happen, everything falls into place.
To be continued